Athlon Sports' key statistics from the 2015-2016 bowl season

Numbers and statistics are a huge part of college football. Every week during the regular season, reading updated box scores and stats is like Christmas for fans and media members. Some stats like total offense and total defense are overrated, but each help paint a picture for a team or particular game. The same can be said after bowl games. While postseason matchups are just one game in sample size of around 13 contests, the bowl games often produce plenty of interesting or intriguing totals. Additionally, the bowl season often allows players to reach various statistical milestones they couldn't hit with just 12 regular season matchups. 

Whether the stats are historic, advanced or just an observation from a box score, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the college football bowl action:

4: National Titles by Alabama Under Nick Saban

Alabama’s 45-40 victory over Clemson in the national championship secured the Crimson Tide’s fourth title in seven seasons. And the list of accomplishments and accolades for coach Nick Saban continues to grow, as Alabama has won at least 10 games in eight consecutive seasons and has not finished lower than 10th in the final Associated Press poll during that span.

4,000/1,000: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson Sets FBS Record

Thanks to a monster performance in the national title (478 overall yards), Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson became the first player in FBS history to reach 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season.

51: Clemson’s Streak of Wins When Leading Into Fourth Quarter

Alabama’s outstanding special teams play helped to lead a 24-point fourth quarter in the national championship, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 45-40 victory. The fourth-quarter performance by Alabama ended Clemson’s streak of wins (51) when leading going into the final 15 minutes.

31: TCU Ties Largest Rally in Bowl History

The odds were stacked against TCU in the Alamo Bowl with starting quarterback Trevone Boykin suspended and a 31-0 deficit at halftime on the scoreboard. However, behind backup quarterback Bram Kohlhausen – and a sluggish Oregon offense without its quarterback Vernon Adams – the Horned Frogs scored 31 unanswered points in regulation to tie (Texas Tech, 2006 Insight Bowl) the largest comeback in bowl history.

645: Baylor Sets Bowl Record for Most Rushing Yards in Single Game

Injuries hit Baylor’s offense hard in the final month of the season, leaving coach Art Briles’ team without quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Seth Russell, along with All-America receiver Corey Coleman for the Russell Athletic Bowl matchup against North Carolina. While Russell, Stidham and Coleman were missed, Briles and his staff showed why they are one of the best in the nation by tweaking the offense to fit the personnel available for the bowl game. The Bears gashed North Carolina for 645 rushing yards – a FBS bowl record – on 84 attempts. Johnny Jefferson led the way with 299 rushing yards, while Devin Chafin (161) and Terence Williams (97) also made key contributions.

88: Career Touchdowns by Navy QB Keenan Reynolds

Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds clinched his spot in FBS history in the Midshipmen’s 44-28 victory over Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl. Reynolds completed 9 of 17 passes for 126 yards and one score and added 144 rushing yards and there touchdowns on the ground. Reynolds ends his career in Annapolis with 88 career touchdowns, which is the most by a player in FBS history.

87: Career Touchdowns by Louisiana Tech RB Kenneth Dixon

Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon finished his prolific career in Ruston with 87 overall touchdowns – just one short of Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Dixon rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns and caught six passes for 113 yards and two scores in Louisiana Tech’s 47-28 win over Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl.

3,017: Michigan QB Jake Rudock’s Season Passing Yardage Total

Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock capped a solid season with a standout performance in the Wolverines’ 41-7 victory over Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Rudock threw for 278 yards and three scores against the Gators, which pushed his season yardage total to 3,017. Rudock is just the second quarterback in school history to reach 3,000 passing yards in a single season.

625/10: Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott’s Rushing Yards and TDs in Bowl Career

Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott only received carries in three bowl games during his career, but he made the most of his opportunities. In those three contests – 2015 Sugar Bowl, National Championship against Oregon and 2016 Fiesta Bowl), Elliott recorded 625 rushing yards and 10 scores.

Related: College Football's 2015-16 Bowl Season Winners and Losers

50-4: Ohio State’s Record Over Last Four Seasons

Ohio State’s senior class closed a prolific four-year run with a victory over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. The win over the Fighting Irish gave the Buckeyes' senior class a 50-4 mark over the last four seasons, which ties Boise State (2008-11) for the most victories in a four-year span.

0.6: Northern Illinois’ Average Yards Per Play Against Boise State

Boise State thoroughly dominated Northern Illinois in a 55-7 rout in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Broncos limited the Huskies to seven first downs, 0.6 average on yards per play, generated five sacks and allowed zero offensive plays longer than 12 yards.

9,000/2,500: Miss. State QB Dak Prescott’s Career Totals Enter FBS Record Book

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott finished his career as only the fourth player in FBS history to pass for more than 9,000 yards and rush for over 2,500. The other three quarterbacks? Florida’s Tim Tebow, Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.

100: Tennessee RB Jalen Hurd Sets School Bowl Record

Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd became the first player in school history to eclipse 100 rushing yards in two bowl games. Hurd recorded 130 yards and one score against Northwestern this season and rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts against Iowa last year.

200: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson Joins Elite Company With 200/200 Performance

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is a rising star to watch for 2016, as the true freshman eclipsed 200 passing yards and 200 rushing yards in the Cardinals’ 27-21 win over Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl. Jackson is only the third player in FBS history to reach that mark in a bowl. Additionally, Jackson’s 226 rushing yards against the Aggies is the second most by a quarterback in a bowl.

3: Consecutive 1,000-Yard Seasons by Arkansas RB Alex Collins

Arkansas running back Alex Collins finished his career in Fayetteville with a standout performance (185 yards and three scores) against Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. The junior is off early to the NFL, but his career ends at Arkansas with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Collins is only the third player in SEC history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in three consecutive years.

123-16: Final Scores in Northwestern’s Three Losses in 2015 Season

Northwestern won 10 games for the fourth time in school history this season, but the Wildcats were easily handled (123-16) in their three losses.

368: Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey Sets Rose Bowl Record for All-Purpose Yards

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey gashed Iowa for 368 all-purpose yards in the 45-16 Rose Bowl victory for the Cardinal. McCaffrey rushed for 172 yards, caught four passes for 105 yards and added 91 overall yards on returns. The 368 all-purpose yards by McCaffrey were the most in a Rose Bowl. 

55: Virginia Tech Sets Bowl Record With 55 Points Against Tulsa

Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech ended on a high note. The Hokies defeated Tulsa 55-52 to send the retiring coach out with a victory and finish the 2015 season at 7-6 overall. The 55 points scored by Virginia Tech in the Independence Bowl were the most by the Hokies in their bowl history.

3: Wins By 5-7 Teams in the Bowl Season

Allowing 5-7 teams to participate in bowl games wasn’t necessarily the most popular idea, but teams with a losing record weren’t fazed by the chatter. Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State won their postseason matchups, moving 5-7 teams to 3-0 in bowl games this year.

1: Akron and Western Michigan Win First Bowl Games in School History

Akron edged Utah State 23-21 in a defensive battle in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 22. The victory over the Aggies was the Zips’ first bowl win in program history and propelled Akron to its highest win total (eight) since joining the FBS level. Western Michigan defeated MTSU 45-31 in the Bahamas Bowl to also earn the first postseason victory in program history.

Quick Hits

* After losing only 10 turnovers in the regular season, Florida State lost five in its loss against Houston in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

* West Virginia and Arizona State combined for 85 points and 1,196 yards in the Cactus Bowl.

* USC recorded only 286 yards of total offense against Wisconsin in the 23-21 Holiday Bowl loss. The 286 yards were the fewest by the Trojans in 2015.

* Florida managed only 28 total yards in the second half of its Citrus Bowl loss to Michigan.

* Michigan State recorded a season-low 29 rushing yards in the Cotton Bowl loss against Alabama.

* Clemson’s defense recorded 18 tackles for a loss in its playoff games against Oklahoma and Alabama.

* Ole Miss’ victory over Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl gave the program its first double-digit win total (10) since 2003.

* Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel threw for a career-high 458 yards in the program’s bowl win over Arkansas State.

* WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty ended a prolific career with a huge performance in the Miami Beach Bowl victory over USF. Doughty threw for 461 yards and three scores and completed 32 of 44 passes against the Bulls. Doughty threw a touchdown pass in 28 consecutive games to end his career.

* LSU averaged 10.3 yards per play in its 56-27 victory over Texas Tech. The 10.3 mark is only the second time since 2008 the Tigers averaged double digits in yards per play.

* Three Duke players rushed for over 100 yards in the Pinstripe Bowl victory over Indiana.

* Nebraska recorded 326 rushing yards in its Foster Farms Bowl win over UCLA. That’s the highest mark for the Cornhuskers under new coach Mike Riley.

* MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill set the FBS record (327) for most completions by a freshman in a single season.

* Georgia Southern rushed for seven touchdowns in its 58-27 bowl win over Bowling Green.

* Auburn’s defense held Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch to 108 passing yards in the Birmingham Bowl. The 108 passing yards are the fewest by Lynch against a FBS opponent in 2015.